Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you

In Luke 10, Jesus sends the seventy out to preach. When they come back, they are excited.
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:17-20)
When we’re reading the scriptures, it is hard to see how these verses are connected, but it seemed to me that they were. I started to see that Jesus wanted to warn the seventy not to rejoice that others were subject to them because He knew that was what brought Satan’s downfall in the world of spirits. (There are a lot of unstated bits of background assumed knowledge that are left out of these verses, but with the knowledge we have of the restored gospel, the plan of salvation, and the premortal life, we are able to fill in the holes.)

Yes, the seventy would have power to tread serpents and scorpions (which could also symbolize those who would tempt them and those who would try to sting them with bitter poisonous words), but if they rejoiced in that, it would puff them up with pride and they would someday fall like Satan, as lightning from heaven—obvious, noisy, and destructive. Instead, Jesus instructed them to rejoice that their names were written in heaven among those who would receive eternal life. This shows it is better to rejoice in our salvation than to rejoice in power we have over others.

This should help me a lot as I teach seminary over the next few days. Rather than rejoicing in any power I have over students, I should rejoice in my salvation.

Then, Jesus prays.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Luke 10:21)
I used to think that Jesus was talking about children, but today I realized that by “babes,” He meant the seventy. It’s kind of startling, but He had several reasons for this. 1) In the eternal perspective, they were still pretty ignorant and new in the gospel. (This can teach us that even the most experienced and valiant of Saints is still only a babe in true wisdom because there is still so much to learn.) Jesus said this to humble them and remind them of that eternal perspective. 2) He wanted to show them that if they were as meek as a babe, all was as it should be.

I loved learning this. If Jesus called the seventy “babes,” then I suppose I am a zygote still in the womb.


Jocelyn Christensen said...

What's less than a zygote? I'm in that category! :)